Highlights of the 2018 Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix
Roll out the red carpet
It's that time of the year again. Every November, the best and brightest in luxury watchmaking gather in Geneva, Switzerland, for an evening of glitter, glamour and glory. For the 18th time, the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve returns to recognise the best in modern watchmaking. This year's edition sees a record participation with representatives from all the major watch groups.
The jury, composed of 30 or so experts and passionately dedicated individuals from a variety of backgrounds, is due to convene in early November to evaluate the shortlisted watches and cast their vote by a secret ballot. As of now, the Foundation of the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve has already preselected six watches for each of the 12 categories in a total of 16 different awards, including the one that everybody is talking about, the Aiguille d'Or Grand Prix.
Winners of the Aiguille d'Or Grand Prix are included in the jury for the following year's Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve.
Set to take place at Geneva's Theatre du Leman on 9th November, the ceremony will be hosted by French actor and producer Edouard Baer and naturally key Genevan authorities and representatives of the international watchmaking profession will grace the event as VIPs.
But before that, all 72 shortlisted timepieces will meet the public in exhibitions around the world. This roadshow kicked off on 28th September in Venice with a grand inauguration organised at the Arsenal in partnership with BMW Italy. After Italy, the pieces will travel to Hong Kong where they will be on show at the Liang Yi Museum from 10th to 11th October. Finally, they will make a stop at Malmaison by The Hour Glass in Singapore from 17th to 21st October, before returning to Geneva, to be exhibited at the Musee d'Art et Histoire from 1st to 14th November.
So these are the ones we have our eyes on to win the 12 prizes, plus the coveted Aiguille d'Or – fingers crossed!
Ladies Watch Prize – Chanel Boy.Friend Skeleton
We just love how Chanel has come to define its own identity and philosophy in watchmaking despite not being a watchmaking brand. This watch comes with a movement designed to embrace the Boy.Friend Watch while espousing the traditional values of haute horlogerie.
Ladies Complication Prize – Bulgari Diva Finissima Minute Repeater High Jewellery
It's a toss-up between this gorgeous number and the Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Planetarium but honestly who could say no to a minute repeater (only our favourite high complication of all time) and in such a feminine execution? Plus it's ultra-thin to boot. Definitely a ladies' complication that'll hold its own even among the big boys.
Men's Watch Prize – Akrivia Chronometre Contemporain
This gorgeous timepiece is everything a man could want in a watch. Check out that gorgeous dial design and the style of those rose gold hands. Turn it over to the back and it just gets better. Rexhep Rexhepi's exquisite movement decoration and finishing is almost hypnotising to look at. The Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendar 1942 is also a close contender but we prefer a simpler movement for the men's watch prize.
Men's Complication Prize – Laurent Ferrier Galet Annual Calendar School Piece
Because it's not awfully new, there's a chance the prize could go to someone else, plus an annual calendar is not exactly very highly complicated. But truth be told we have been huge fans of Laurent Ferrier's school piece ever since setting eyes on it last year. So call us biased, but we definitely want this watch to win.
Chronograph Prize – Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition 100
How can anyone be indifferent to this drop-dead gorgeous smoky green dial? Coupled with the old-world charm of the vintage Montblanc logo, those classical cathedral hands, and the Minerva-style single push-piece chronograph movement on the back, this is a clear winner.
Chronometry Prize – TAG Heuer Carrera Tourbillon Chronograph Tete de Vipere
If TAG Heuer hadn't done it, no one would've even heard of Tete de Vipere, which is the chronometer certification institution other than COSC. And have you seen the fabulous blue ceramic bezel that's set off by the barrel cover in a similar hue? The tourbillon, too, looks amazing even if it arguably does nothing much for chronometry.
Mechanical Exception Prize – Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie
Whenever a watch company manages to pull off a grande sonnerie that actually works perfectly is always cause for celebration. Yes, even more than repeaters, these pesky complications are notoriously difficult to make, much less when you're a small semi-independent brand like Greubel Forsey. So just put your hands together and be happy for the guys.
Sports Watch Prize – Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback
As much as the Seiko Prospex 1968 Diver's Re-Creation is an awesome choice for this category, we were ultimately seduced by this Zenith model. That bronze case, that fetching smoky textured dial, that badass chronograph seconds hand, and of course that delicious calfskin strap with vintage inspired stitching. We surrender!
Jewellery Watch Prize – Bulgari Serpenti High Jewellery
It is simply impossible for anyone to not be won over by this stunning cuff watch that's a mix of rich Bulgari DNA, exquisite jewellery crafting, and beautiful precious stones. Okay there isn't a lot of watch content here but this is a jewellery watch prize.
Artistic Crafts Prize – Chaumet Ecritures de Chaumet Limited Edition Renoir
There's so much great stuff in this group – we absolutely love the Hermes Arceau Robe du Soir and the Vacheron Constantin Metiers d'Art Les Aerostiers – but it's this artistic number that ultimately stole our hearts. This captivating tribute to Renoir is so mesmerising even those sparkling diamonds can't take away the spotlight.
Petite Aiguille Prize – Ming 19.01
A representative from Southeast Asia for the very first time, so it's definitely a timepiece we could get behind! Ming 19.01 combines a fascinating design identity with a super friendly price tag.
Challenge Prize – Nomos Glashutte Tangente Neomatik 41 Update
We are big fans of Nomos Glashutte because, come on, who doesn't like simple contemporary designs that are affordable and still offer in-house manufactured movements?
Aiguille d'Or – Akrivia Chronometre Contemporain
That's right, we think that Akrivia and its founder Rexhap Rexhapi truly deserves the grand prize this year because it's just so rare these days to find watchmakers who are so dedicated to their craft. Rexhapi produces his movements by hand, the good old-fashioned way, and yet his watches have the kind of aesthetic that's almost trend-setting and not boring at all.
The Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneva will take place on 9th November at the Theatre du Leman in Geneva, Switzerland.